Downward Journey

As promised, here’s one of the first (hopefully of many) short stories. Inspired by a dream I had a few nights ago 🙂

Downward Journey – A Short Snippet

What is the opposite of spacious vastness? 


Keep that thought. 

That’s exactly what I felt, climbing down the calloused, rusted ladder. The overwhelming tightness that gripped my chest whilst the coldness of the metal chilled my bones. The claustrophobic pressure on my head that pushed me down the, what’s meant to be safe, passage. I did not feel safe however, nor the comfort, care or promised calmness; I felt trapped.

All these things and more passed by me in a fraction of a second and I swept it aside. Instead, I lowered myself until the ladder ended and hopped onto the hard concrete where my trainers caused a thud, reminding me of how my heart sounded when I was forced to start again. 

I looked back up at the ladder where Rick followed suit. I’ve known him since school, where we’ve shared classes, secrets, packed lunches, even girlfriends at one point. He alone was permitted to accompany me here and I’m grateful for it. 

“I hope inside is much cosier than out here…” I said dramatically to no one in particular, sniffing the damp air.

I shuddered as my voice echoed and swiped away a gleam of sweat on my forehead, sweeping back my dark hair. 

As Rick reached the bottom, he stepped beside me and gave me his usual hearty pat on the back.

“Common Dez, you know you always end up liking your accommodation so lets go into Estriko and get you settled into your new flat, OK?”

He strode forwards, leading the way. I followed suit and Rick gave me a quick wink looking over his shoulder in encouragement. I felt none of that though, instead I rolled my eyes. No wonder the girls at the bar last week thought we were a couple before they built up the courage to strike a conversation. With him. Not me, mind you. He was always the charismatic one, quick to make a joke and easy going. If not for his job, he would have settled down by now for sure but here we both are. I dedicated my life to research, keeping my head down and my heart on my projects and he, to the governing body of the infamous underground city that’s about to engulf us both.

As we walked through a long dark tunnel, I was sure I heard a rat scurry and I squinted at a corner where I thought I glimpsed a small shadow out of the corner of my eye. Rick’s right though, last time I had to relocate, it was also unexpected. So much so, that it was all I could do to grab my suitcase and shove the essentials into it. It’s a shame that I didn’t think that clothes and toiletries were a part of those essentials though because I had wear the same clothes for about a week until the new things I ordered arrived and found myself with an itchy beard meanwhile. I didn’t care about that. My mind was always on my subject. Her. The striking red hair, the soulful silver eyes, the human warmth to her skin. The memory of Her still gave me goosebumps.

“Estriko passes,” grunted a thick-necked woman with hooded eyes.

She eyed me carefully then glanced over to Rick.

“Hello darlin’, good to see you darlin'” she says, her expression brightening, “on duty are ya? Welcome home darlin'”

Rick flashes her his cheeky grin whilst handing her both of our papers.

“Yup, just escorting my friend here, Desmond Jackston,” he thumbs towards my direction “for his research on hybrids. Did you hear that incident on the news last weekend? This guy is responsible for shutting that bitch down.” I drop my gaze as the woman is taken aback. My neck constricted as if she just started strangling me but as I bring myself to meet her eyes, her expression is that of awe, so I relaxed.

“Please don’t go spreading rumours Rick and don’t go telling people what I’m here for.” I mumbled under my breath as we walked past the paper check-point, the woman still eyeing us as we picked up the pace going away from her. He simply shrugged his shoulders and continued on.


*So what are your thoughts so far about the characters? I’m also not sure about using the past tense – do you think it works?*






Alina is the founder and writer of The Fairytale Pretty Picture blog whilst working full time as an SEO specialist at a growing online-only retailer called Amara. She owns a beautiful white Alsatian and lives in Essex with her husband.


  • October 7, 2018


    I want to read more. It’s good and a gripping start. Your writing is really good too and descriptive which I like

  • October 7, 2018


    Pretty good storytelling, I now want to know who is She. I was left clutching for more, great job Alina! I like how you used the past tense, feels like a story/memory is being shared.

  • October 9, 2018

    Mary Louise

    Wow, that was a great bit of lunchtime reading! I wanted to read more. Rick seems friendly, apart from his grin, I am wondering what he looks like